Indie Rock With A Spiritual Core

The Antlers Dazzle New and Old Fans Alike


By Gabe Friedman

Published July 14, 2014, issue of August 01, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The Antlers are a Brooklyn-based indie rock band best known for their intense 2009 opus “Hospice,” a concept album about a terminally ill child in a cancer ward. However, to label the group as “sad rock” would be to underestimate their talent.

Prior to “Hospice,” The Antlers was singer Peter Silberman’s solo project. He released an album and two EP’s of sparse acoustic folk before producing “In the Attic of the Universe,” an album that signaled his more epic, layered sounds to come. Multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci and percussionist Michael Lerner joined Silberman as full-time members after those releases in 2007, filling out the band’s current lineup.

“Hospice” displayed a rare form of musical and conceptual ambition, and NPR named it the best album of 2009. Since then, their music has loosened up considerably, but heavy questions about life, death, and individual identity remain. 2011’s “Burst Apart” saw the band incorporate sleeker electronic sounds and more up-beat tempos, but stark pessimism and anger lurked in the lyrics.

The band’s latest album “Familiars” (Anti- Records, June 17, 2014) finds the group settling into a slower, more meditative groove, full of ambient horns, organs, and finger-picked electric guitar melodies. The songs aren’t too far removed from the heartbreak of “Hospice” and the desolation of “Burst Apart,” but the tone is certainly more hopeful. On the record’s second single “Hotel,” Silberman sings: “I rent a blank room to stop living in my past self.” (The album’s first single was “Palace,” released in March.)

The group embarked on a tour in June that will take them across the US, Canada, and Europe. Frontman and songwriter Peter Silberman spoke to the Forward about the band’s evolution and how his more optimistic spiritual philosophy made its way onto the new album.

GF: The band’s sound, although it’s been atmospheric for a while, seems even more expansive on “Familiars.” Has your songwriting and recording process changed for this album?

PS: Yeah, I’d say it changed for this record. Although I think it’s the natural evolution of what we’ve been doing for a few years. About 3 or 4 years ago we moved into our own studio in Brooklyn, right before we started working on “Burst Apart.” Since then we’ve taken on a new way of working. It was no longer just a bedroom project. In our own studio we were able to give the record the chance to really grow and for us to get familiar with engineering our own records in a more professional capacity.

“Familiars” has definitely been through more of a long gestating process. We worked on it for way longer than we worked on anything else. I think what made it different than the records that came before is that we had a long time to sit and contemplate it. That led to a lot of subtle differences, which are a little hard to put my finger on.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.